IMPERIAL, Calif. — official release — Using his home-desert experience in SoCal’s Imperial Valley to his advantage, Steven Eugenio captured the SCORE Trophy Truck victory Sunday in the two-segment 19th annual Rigid Industries SCORE Desert Challenge.
With racing starting Friday night, all day and evening Saturday and concluding late Sunday afternoon, Eugenio covered the 94.2 miles run as 12 laps over a 7.85-mile course in one hour, 32 minutes and 38 seconds, averaging 61.01 miles per hour over the extremely dusty race course in his No. 7 Galindo Motorsports Chevy Silverado. For Eugenio, who has won in multiple classes in SCORE races, this was his first SCORE Trophy Truck race win.
Round four of the 2014 five-race SCORE World Desert Championship was split into multiple days with classes divided into groups as is typical with a SCORE Desert Challenge event. Each class (except SCORE Trophy Truck and Trophy Truck Spec) ran two, eight-lap segments over a 7.85-mile course at the Coyne Powersports Motorplex near Plaster City, Calif. in Imperial Valley.
Because of safety and environment concerns because of the near zero-visibility with blowing dust across the race course and the speed of these trucks, SCORE race officials reduced the number of laps for SCORE Trophy Trucks to 12 and the Trophy Truck Spec class to 14 laps. All other classes ran their scheduled 16 laps split into two segments.
When the dust settled after the final group finished racing late Sunday afternoon there were 67 official finishers out of 89 official starters for a 75.28 finishing percentage.
With 15 starters in SCORE Trophy Truck, the marquee SCORE racing division for high-tech, 850 horsepower, unlimited production trucks, second in class was Mexico’s Gus Vildosola Jr. in the No. 21 Vildosola Racing Branix Mexicana Logistics Ford Raptor who finished in 1:34:44. Completing the SCORE Trophy Truck podium in third place in class was B.J. Baldwin, who finished in 134:40 in the No. 1 Monster Energy Baldwin Motorsports Chevy Silverado. Eugenio was the leader after the first segment of eight laps as well as at the finish.
“Our plan was to run hard but not push it more than we had to,” said Engenio. “This win gives us a lot of momentum going into the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 and hopefully we can do well there. This is my first SCORE Trophy Truck win and we’ve been there all year and close but we’ve had some misfortunes.”
“Being back in my hometown, getting a SCORE Trophy Truck win here and proving that I can be on the top of the box is awesome. We never had a mistake out there today and we drove pretty hard through the dust. From start to finish we couldn’t see anything,” Eugenio said.
The fastest motorcycle was the No. 1x Honda CRF450X ridden by Colton Udall, Oceanside, Calif., to a finishing time of 1:59:45 with an average speed of 62.93 mph. It was his second win of the season.
The fastest overall ATV was ridden by the team led by Javier Robles Jr. on a Honda TRX450R in a time of 2:17:47, averaging 54.70 mph. His co-riders were Michael Cafro, Jorie Williams and Josh Row. It was his third win of the year.
Defending season class champion Cody Parkhouse defeated a talented group of seven starters to win the unlimited Class 1 for open-wheel desert race cars in their Chevy-powered Jimco, finishing the full 16 laps in 1:59:05 with an average speed of a race-high 63.28 mph. Second in Class 1, just 24 seconds behind Parkhouse on corrected time was NASCAR competitor Justin Lofton, who drove another Jimco-Chevy. It was the second straight win for Parkhouse.
Two motorcycle racers, remain undefeated after their fourth win in the 2014 SCORE World Desert Championship – Tony Gera (SCORE Ironman, Honda XR650R) and Giovanni Spinali (Class 40, Honda CRF450X).
In addition to Robles Jr. picking up their third wins of the season in this race were Pete Sohren (Class 7, Ford Ranger) and Jose Lopez (Class 5, VW Baja Bug).
Besides Parkhouse, other racers winning their class for the second time in 2014 were Donald Harper (Class 5-1600, VW Baja Bug), Donald Moss (Class 3, Ford Bronco), Reid Rutherford (Class 3000, Mason-Chevy) and Mark Winkelman (Class 30, Honda CRF450X).
Several racers won for the first time in 2014. Pacing the group was Justin Davis, who drove his FullPotential-Chevy to a winning time of 2:09:23 with an average speed of 58.25 mph. Davis normally races in the SCORE Trophy Truck division.
Among the other first time 2014 winners were Mike Meeks (Class 8, Dodge Ram SRT10), Taylor Mills (Trophy Truck Spec, Chevy Silverado), Mario Gastelum (Class 1/2-1600, Alfa-VW), Matt Parks (Class 19, Polaris RZR XP1000) and Thomas Harris (Limited M/C, Honda CRF250X)